Day 4: Community / by Jeff Tacklind

            Today is parade day in Laguna!  Every year the city hosts the Patriot’s Day Parade which begins at the high school and ends in front of city hall.  It just to so happens to conveniently pass by the end of our street.  We’ve lived here 16 years and have been almost every year. 

            It is your classic small town parade where there are more participants than spectators.  Practically every group or organization from town participates from the Sawdust Festival to the Laughing Yoga crew.  It includes the little leaguers, the Indian Princesses, the Pageant of the Masters people, and, of course, our local middle and high school bands.

            Gabe and Mia both marched today.  I was the embarrassing dad running alongside them with my phone, recording.  I may have accidentally yelled out, “smash those cymbals, baby!” to my daughter as she passed by, red faced.

            This year Lila chose not to march.  She could have gone with her tennis team or with her dance class, but instead she wisely chose to catch the candy that gets thrown to the spectators.  I mean, someone’s gotta do it.  She came home with more candy than she gets at Halloween.

            As I watch the parade I am reminded of how much time we’ve invested here in this community.  I am reminded by each familiar face that passes by, waving and bursting into smile at that moment of recognition.  I am reminded what a gift each of them is to me.  Every face reminds me of a story.  Every face has added to my journey, to who I am, and to who I am becoming.

            I am also reminded of those who have moved on.  The parade will never be quite as good as when we used to sit with Brad and Margy Coleman.  Margy is one of the best hecklers I know, but also one of the very best encouragers, applauding every obscure marching band that passed by. 

            The fact is, relationships are what gives our life its depth and its meaning.  They are the greatest gifts.  Friendships are a reason to stay where you are.

             I want to savor these moments, knowing that each one marks my life like the ring of a tree.  Community is an intentional gift from God.  Relationships are messy, create friction, and yet are ultimately the thing that matters most.  Happy parade day, my friends!  I sure love you guys!